A new National Clinical Guideline for treatment of patients with breast cancer has been published by the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).

Under the new guideline, for some patients, their total radiotherapy dose can be provided within one week instead of three to five weeks. For others, new recommended techniques will reduce the burden of attending hospital for radiotherapy treatment.

The new guideline was developed in consultation with oncology patients and doctors, and will improve the standard and consistency of clinical practice in line with the best and most recent scientific evidence available, which in turn benefits the patients, the HSE said.

Professor Risteárd Ó Laoide, National Director, HSE NCCP, said, “the guideline sets out recommendations that will mean shorter treatment time for some patients, and therefore fewer in-hospital appointments. This will create some additional capacity in the service, meaning more patients can be treated in the same timeframe than previously.”

The guideline was developed by a multi-disciplinary group chaired by Dr Eve OToole, Head of Evidence and Quality Hub in the NCCP. She added, “we worked with radiation oncology clinicians and engaged with patient representatives to develop this evidence-based guideline. We integrated their clinical experience and patient values with the best current evidence to formulate recommendations for clinical practice. The patient focus group provided views of those who are most impacted by its recommendations, and their valuable feedback shaped the overall guideline.”

According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI), there was an average of 3,392 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in Ireland annually between 2018–2020.

Source: Irish Medical Times